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Online Learning Helps a Student Living with Cystic Fibrosis

  • 2 Min Read

A high school student from Atlanta is using online learning to augment his treatment schedule

Hayden is just like any other 14-year-old student at North Gwinnett High School. He loves sports, music, his classes, and his friends. He also happens to have Cystic Fibrosis (CF). CF is a genetic disease that affects about 70,000 people worldwide. The symptoms vary from person-to-person, but for Hayden it causes respiratory and digestive issues. To help manage the symptoms of his disease, he undergoes treatments twice a day that are a half hour each, with additional time spent if he’s feeling worse. On top of that, he goes to extra doctor appointments and a specialized clinic a few times a year. All these activities help Hayden as he manages his disease, and he’s even successfully avoided being hospitalized, which can be a common occurrence for those with CF.

Read the video transcript

High School District Provides a Solution

Hayden’s condition was at risk of impeding his access to the highest quality of education, which was of huge concern to him and his family. North Gwinnett has a proud history of serving its community’s youth population. They have been ranked the #1 secondary school in Georgia and received a gold medal for their overall 2017 National Rankings. A solution was needed that could enable Hayden to have the best education experience possible, which in this case was delivered with the assistance of a learning management system.

The Impact of Online Learning

Hayden and his family were concerned that between the time required for treatment and getting to school in the morning, he might be losing out on a quality night’s sleep. This could have a larger impact on his overall health. They were happy to discover that the school could enable Hayden to take his first period class over the Internet. Using an online learning tool, he can keep up with a full course load and still fit in everything that he needs to stay healthy. He can participate in online learning at a time that best suits his schedule. It even allows him to interact with other students online to help keep him socially connected to his peers.

Removing Barriers and Finding Success

Gwinnett County Public Schools offer an online learning environment for a variety of situations. This allows them to provide more options to their students, removing barriers to education. Elizabeth, Hayden’s mother, said that knowing this is an option is a huge relief. She is now confident that during each term they can sit down with the school and discuss what will work best, and find the right balance of online and in-person courses to fit in his schedule, and help him reach his life goals. Oh, and he dreams of playing baseball for the Chicago Cubs, in case you were wondering.

Read the success story of Gwinnett County to find out more. They describe their digital transformation and the impact that online learning has had on learning outcomes for its student population.

Hayden: Hi. My name’s Hayden, and I’m 14 years old. Looking at me, you would never know I have CF. That’s why it’s called an invisible disease. Cystic fibrosis is a life threatening, genetic respiratory and digestive disease. My body produces thick, sticky mucous that clogs my lungs and digestive tract. (singing) I fight CF every day. To clear mucous from my lungs, I do airway clearance every day, twice a day. (singing) I take a lot of medicine to stay healthy. I take over 20 pills every day. (singing) I won’t let CF stop me from chasing my dreams. My dream is to play major league baseball for the Chicago Cubs. (singing) I can’t win this fight alone. Because only 30,000 Americans have CF, it is an orphan disease. It is not profitable for pharmaceutical companies to spend about $1 billion to bring a CF drug to market. (singing). The CF Foundation fills that gap by funding research. (singing).Finding a cure for CF would mean everything to me, because if I leave a towel out, I don’t have to worry about getting pseudomonas from it, or I don’t have to worry about forgetting to take my pills before I eat my lunch or something and getting stomach ache from it, or don’t have to worry about, “Oh, I have to get to baseball, but I got up late,” or, “I have to get to school, and I got up late, and I have to do my therapy for half an hour, so I can’t,” so I don’t have to worry about that, and I don’t have to be stressed about it. (singing).

Speaker 2: 60 years ago, the average life of a child with CF was five years. Today the predicted median age of survival is about 40, but that’s not good enough. (singing).

Hayden: I need a cure to reach my dreams. (singing). Help me reach my dreams. (singing).

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